The San Francisco Giants made their first trade of the 2013 season on Friday, acquiring right-handed pitcher Guillermo Moscoso from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations (translation: they’re getting him for free).
Moscoso has not pitched in the major leagues yet this year, but has had a decent season at Triple-A Iowa, possessing a 3.93 ERA over 17 starts with a 1.3 WHIP and an average of exactly one strikeout per inning. Though it is has not been confirmed by the Giants, the expectation is that he will join the major league team this weekend.
Even though Moscoso has had an OK year, something has to be said for the Giants’ desperation for pitching when they are plucking pitchers from the Triple-A team of one of the few organizations in baseball with a worse record than the Giants. Perhaps it says even more that the Cubs have already used 44 players this year and gotten rid of a good chunk of the players from their Opening Day roster, yet Moscoso still has not gotten a chance.
The 29-year-old Moscoso has been pretty erratic over his major league career. He’s had two very solid seasons, his rookie year in 2009 where he he gave up five earned runs in 14 innings of relief, and his 2011 season in Oakland, where he posted a 3.38 ERA in 23 games, including 21 starts. Last year in Colorado, however, Moscoso had a 6.12 ERA with a disastrous 1.72 WHIP and gave up 1.4 homers per nine innings. He pitched 50 major league innings and started three games.
Ultimately, it is very questionable why the Giants felt that they needed Moscoso. First of all, he is virtually a thinner, one-year-older clone of current Giants long reliever Yusmeiro Petit. Both pitchers are Venezuelans who have shifted between starting and relieving while seeing inconsistent results in the majors. However, Petit is already established in the organization and just threw a very solid 5.2 innings on Tuesday for the Giants. It doesn’t make sense that the Giants would want to have two long relievers without much substance in their bullpen.
All these pitching moves that the Giants are making may lead to an overstock of mediocre pitching as the Giants attempt to navigate through August. Since the All-Star break, the Giants have placed Jeremy Affeldt on the disabled list and optioned both George Kontos and Jake Dunning to Triple-A, though manager Bruce Bochy left the impression that both of those moves were due to the pitchers being unavailable, and that they would be back as soon as they had spent the mandatory 10 days in Triple-A.
Meanwhile, they have recalled right-handers Petit and Jean Machi, and it is assumed that Moscoso will soon join the roster. Just to pile on, the Giants are planning on getting starter Ryan Vogelsong back in the near future, which will send a starter among Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Chad Gaudin back to the bullpen. With all this pitching, and not too much success to separate them with the exception of Dunning’s fantastic rookie showing, it should be interesting to see how the Giants handle the situation.
Some pitchers are going to be disappointed by the outcome, and we’ll see what factors, whether it be experience, prior success or organizational value, that the Giants use to determine their seven-man bullpen over the next month.